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Graduate recruitment has, once again, become competitive as employers boost their hiring numbers and search for the best talent. Jo Faragher examines whether or not the old approaches to attraction still work.
While attending the annual university careers fairs – or the "milk round" as it is commonly known – Carol White, head of recruitment at engineering and professional services consulting firm WSP, began to notice a couple of things. First, the number of final-year undergraduates looking to apply for a role had decreased, and second, her company’s competitors were increasingly nowhere to be seen.
“We had more younger undergraduates looking for work placements rather than permanent roles, and we wondered what our competitors were doing,” says White.
This year, WSP will recruit around 150 graduates, many of them with specialist engineering degrees, so it needs to be able to attract quality talent.
Having discovered that its traditional route to market for graduates was becoming less effective, the company now does more of its candidate attraction through mobiles and tablets. It also uses targeted advertising on LinkedIn and engages with students on campus in different ways, such as sponsoring competitions or inviting students to "lunch and learn" sessions.
WSP is not the only graduate employer to review how it reaches out to potential candidates. As numbers begin to pick up again after the recession, many organisations are broadening and innovating how they interact with graduates.
What do graduates want from an employer?
Good work-life balance
Students today do not expect to leave work and totally unplug. They do expect to integrate their jobs into their lives and vice versa. That can mean working remotely when possible, taking time for personal projects and staying connected to friends during office hours.
Relevant and competitive reward
Candidates will always be driven by compensation, but this generation is more attuned to non-traditional job benefits such as game rooms, health clubs, casual dress, barbecues and peer-nominated awards.
Strong career path
Students today are not looking to qualify for a pension plan. They may not even expect to be with you for five years. What they are looking for is a launch pad.
Students welcome a challenge a